GENDER FORMATION OF COMMUNICATION 1
Communication is a complex phenomenon, especially when criticallyinvestigated from a gender perspective. Indeed, there is a differencebetween male-centered communication and female-dominated talks. Inaddition, how men and women perceive and understand some phrasesdiffer significantly. Moreover, the impact that a given talk has on aperson varies with respect to gender. In nearly all forms ofcommunication, there is an aspect of gender that stands out uniquely(Buzzanell, 2004). In havingconversations, writing any form of media, communicating ideas andmaking remarks, one has to be keen on issues related to gender. Lackof this would lead to misinterpretation, inappropriate reaction andunanticipated outcomes from the message conveyed.
Gender communication variations start during childhood. Girls areasked to observe their manners, play quietly as well as be ladylike.For boys, however, it is okay not only to use rough language and playloudly but also be rambunctious. Girls are also allowed to expressfeelings. For instance, if a small girl falls, she is nurtured. Theboy who experiences the same thing is often asked not to cry andremain tough. As a result of all these, girls develop a cool style ofinteractions whereas boys cultivate an aggressive style ofinteraction. Thus, when comparing contracts of different gender inthe workplace, it is good to remember neither of the two styles ismore important. According to Mohindra and Azhar (2012, 18), “menare impeccably right to be more direct while women are perfectlyright to be people-oriented, even in the workplace.” Despite beingdifferent, the two styles coexist successfully in the same setting solong as the parties associated are open and understand each other.
Differences in intonation need to be understood by both men and womenin communicating. It is the nature of women to converse in ahigh-pitch voice for not only physiological reason, but alsoemotional instability. In addition to high-pitch voice, women alsolike using a reverse accent in communicating. According to Xia(2013), the use of a high rose tone by women when communicating tomen suggests gentility and docility of women. The tone makes men,particularly husband to the wife speaking, feel respected by theirwives. The rising intonation by women also signifies the loss ofconfidence. Contrary to this, men like using falling intonation whencommunicating with women to show that they are confident and sure ofwhat they are conversing. Paying attention to the intonation used byboth women and men is important in understanding the messagepresented by different genders. It also assists in determining theposition of the persons communicating.
Women and girls tend to be very sensitive to talks or comments thatmay not attract the same levels of sensitivity from men and boys.Just as Tannen (2006) states that “a mother’s gaze is like amagnifying lens…,” it is true that females are more sensitive tothe detail in any form of conversation. To them, a talk is not onlymeant to communicate an idea it holds further intentions. Therefore,when communicating messages that may contain some sensitive aspects,gender issues have to be taken into account. Not only do women reactto sensitive issues, but they also want to find out more on themotive behind such communications. In the case of men, more attentionis given to the content of the message as opposed to the perceivedhidden details in the message. They pay closer attention to theliteral message and only take in what the speaker wants them to takein. Due to gender disparities, a universal message has to be coded inways that cater for cross-gender characteristics.
Communicating an idea to men and women has to consider the fact thatthere exists a sort of “language barrier” between the two. Womenare conversation-centered whereas men are action-oriented. Forexample, a news broadcast calling upon all citizens to stay indoorsin the course of a curfew would be interpreted differently. Men wouldfocus on keeping their families indoors to maintain safety, out ofthe curfew call. Women, however, would rather be interested in themanner in which the message is conveyed, intentions of such decisionsand the ways in which the news presenter communicates the idea.Passing messages to a cross-gender population has to considerCameron’s (2007) essential difference that exists between male andfemale brains’ configuration with regards to messageinterpretation.
Gender formation of communication leads to the workplace andprofessional careers’ composition. For example, why are there callsfor more female than male counselors? Could it be that women talk toomuch as perceived by many researchers? Of course, not. Holmes (1998)in dispute of the fact that women talk too much uses researchevidence to prove her position on the matter. It is, for example,recommended to have a woman counselor compared to a male counselor.The reason is that women believe in the power of words as opposed tomen that interpret ideas with the primary intention of taking action.In a professional setting, therefore, it is important to have somecareers preserved from a particular gender based on communicationdiscrepancies between men and women.
Some researchers claim that biggest difference in communicationstyles for both women and men is influenced by the purpose of theconversations. Women mostly use communication to boost socialconnections as well as to create relationships. Men on the other handuse language to exercise dominance in addition to achieving tangibleoutcomes like obtaining power (Merchant, 2012). The way men and womencommunicate also define their relationship with other members of thesociety. Women often strive to be social in their communications withothers whereas men adore their independence. The communal orientationby women portrays their concern for others, selflessness in additionto a desire to be on the same page with others. Therefore,understanding the use of language by women and men is critical asmuch as the societal relationship is concerned.
According to some findings, men mostly use the instrumental method ofcommunication. Instrumental style of communication is associated withidentifying goals as well as finding solutions. Women, on the otherhand, use the expressive style of communication. The expressive styleis associated with emotions in addition to paying attention to howothers feel. A deeper cognizance of how men and women conversedifferently is necessary to prevent gender differences from resultingin resentment, workplace stress besides decreased productivity.
In conclusion, the design of any communication context needs to takeinto consideration gender factors. The way men and women were raisedfrom childhood often influence their ways of communication. Thus,paying attention to the way men and women communicate in the societyis very critical in understanding the individuals communicating. Tofully portray meaning, gender aspects of a message must also beconsidered. Even in careers and workplace settings, roles need to bedistinguished on the basis of gender differences. This will not leadto any form of bias but will create a balance in the workforcesettings. The brain wiring difference between men and women is not amyth. Therefore, it is necessary to have gender issues incorporatedin any form of formal communication.
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Buzzanell, P. M. (2004). Genderin applied communication contexts.Thousand Oaks, Calif [u.a.: Sage Publ.
Cameron, D. (2007). What language barrier? United Kingdom: TheGuardian. Retrieved fromhttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/oct/01/gender.books
Holmes, J. (1998). Women talk too much. Language Myths. Bauer,Laurie and Peter Trudgill NY: Penguin Books.
Merchant, K. (2012). How Men And W omen Differ: Gender Differences inCommunication Styles, Influence Tactics, and Leadership Styles. CMCSenior Theses.
Mohindra, V. & Azhar, S. (2012). Gender Communication: AComparative Analysis of Communicational Approaches of Men and Womenat Workplaces. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science(JHSS).
Tannen, D. (2006). Oh, Mom. Oh, Honey. Retrieved fromhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/21/AR2006012100092.html
Xia, X. (2013). Gender Differences in Using Language. Theory andPractice in Language Studies.